The long 4 year wait is over and the Olympics Games officially starts this coming weekend. However football fans get an early taste of Olympic magic as the Men’s and Women’s football tournaments kick off a few days prior to the opening ceremony. Sadly the South Korean women’s side failed to qualify, however the Men and bronze medal winners from 2012 will be at the games. They were drawn in Group C with Germany, Mexico and their first opponents pacific island nation Fiji. Before looking at that game lets quickly overview the Men’s 2016 Olympic Football Tournament;
Men’s Football at the Rio Summer Olympic Games 2016
As shown above 15 national plus hosts Brazil qualified for the Olympic Football Tournament. Sides are comprised of under 23 squads plus 3 overaged players. The tournament starts with 4 groups of 4, with the top 2 sides progressing to the knockout stages. Then it’s winner takes all going toward the goal medal final later this month.
Games take place in stadiums used during the 2014 World Cup, and with a country whose national sport is football you know this tournament will be well supported.
South Korea U23 vs. Fiji – Preview and Prediction (Friday August 5th 2016)
South Korea U23:
South Korea will be looking to go 2 steps further these Olympic Games and a take a gold medal, bettering the Bronze they won in London. The U23 squad also won the Gold Medal 2 years ago at the Asian Games held in Incheon. They came runners-up in the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship back in January to qualify, and so have a proven track record. They’ve played 6 friendlies this year in preparation winning 4 and drawing 2, the last game a few days ago was against Sweden which they won 3-2.
Key Player: Tottenham Hotspur Striker Son Heung-Min (valued around $30million) will be a danger for any defence during this tournament. He’s played at the World Cup and Asian Cup, so he also brings in valuable experience.
Fiji qualified for the Olympics by winning the 2015 Pacific Games. They gained from the disqualification of New Zealand who fielded an ineligible player during the group stages. During that tournament they beat the Federated States of Micronesia 38-0 in the group stages, but also drew with Tahiti and Vanuatu. They beat Papua New Guinea in the Semi-Finals and Vanuatu in the final on penalties. They’ve never been tested at a high level before and have never qualified for a major tournament at U23 or senior level. A lack of warmup games might be a factor too.
Key Player: Roy Krishna plays for A-League side Wellington Phoenix and it one of the most famous players to come from Fiji. He is also the only member of the squad not locally based.
Head-to-Head: They’ve never played before at any level.
South Korea U23 5 – 0 Fiji
Fiji have an experienced goalkeeper so we don’t see this being a cricket score, but we can’t see South Korea losing. Korea will be looking to score a few early goals and then save some energy for their up coming games against Mexico and Germany. On paper this is a bit of a mismatch (Korea are 50-1 on favorites), but you never know what might happen on the day as Fiji are unknown quantities.
South Korea U23 vs. Fiji U23 (Olympic Games Group C) Result & photos
South Korea U23 8-0 Fiji U23
Fiji held on until the last 30mins when Korea scored 7 goals, including 3 goals in a 90second period.